Why does the OWNERSHPD variable (1930/40 files) take only two values?


I downloaded the 1930 and 1940 census samples and the 1940 full census dataset. The Codebook for these datasets states that the OWNERSHPD variable should contain 7 levels in total:

10 / Owned or being bought
11 / Check mark (owns?)
12 / Owned free and clear
13 / Owned with mortgage or loan

20 / Rented
21 / No cash rent
22 / With cash rent
but in the datafiles which I downloaded, this variable takes on only values 10 and 20, so it contains no more information that the OWNERSHP variable:

Owned or being bought | 56,525,442 43.97 43.97
Rented | 72,032,222 56.03 100.00
Total |128,557,664 100.00

Why is this the case? Is there any way to still obtain the more detailed information for the full census file or for the 1930/40 samples?

Thanks in advance,


In the 1930 and 1940 censuses, the information necessary to create the detailed home ownership categories was not collected. You can see the available level of detail for OWNERSHPD in each sample by selecting “Detailed codes” on the OWNERSHP Codes page.

Hope this helps.

Tim, thanks for your answer! Does this mean that the information was collected during the census, or was it not collected in the process of digitizing the census files? It would be a very interesting piece of information to have, but the census file itself is already really exciting to work with.

Unfortunately, the information was not collected in the original Census questionnaire. In 1930 and 1940, the enumerator simply recorded whether the home was owned or rented.

Hope this helps.